nep-dev New Economics Papers
on Development
Issue of 2020‒06‒15
nine papers chosen by
Jacob A. Jordaan
Universiteit Utrecht

  1. Women’s empowerment in agriculture and nutritional outcomes: Evidence from six countries in Africa and Asia By Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Sproule, Kathryn; Martinez, Elena M.; Malapit, Hazel J.
  2. Marriage Payments and Wife's Welfare: All you need is love By Rozenn Hotte; Sylvie Lambert
  3. Healthcare Reform and Gender Specific Child Investment in Developing Countries By Juergen Jung; Vinish Shrestha
  4. Corruption and mental health By Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal; Finn Tarp
  5. Minimum Wage Compliance and Household Welfare: An Analysis of over 1500 Minimum Wages By Mansoor, Kashif; O'Neill, Donal
  6. Poverty and COVID-19 in Developing Countries By Olivier BARGAIN; Ulugbek AMINJONOV
  7. Democratisation under Diversity: Theory and Evidence from Indonesian Communities By Anirban Mitra; Sarmistha Pal
  8. An Analysis of the use of Chemical Pesticides and their Impact on Yields, Farmer Income and Agricultural Sustainability: The Case for Smallholder Farmers in Ethiopia By Aparna Rao; Risa Morimoto
  9. Cooking Fuel Choice, Indoor Air Quality and Child Mortality in India By Basu, Arnab K.; Byambasuren, Tsenguunjav; Chau, Nancy H.; Khanna, Neha

  1. By: Quisumbing, Agnes R.; Sproule, Kathryn; Martinez, Elena M.; Malapit, Hazel J.
    Abstract: Although women’s empowerment and gender equality are associated with better maternal and child nutrition outcomes, recent systematic reviews find inconclusive evidence. This paper applies a comparable methodology to data on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), a recent internationally-validated measure based on interviews of women and men within the same household, from six countries in Africa and Asia to identify which dimensions of women’s empowerment are related to household-, women-, and child-level dietary and nutrition outcomes. We examine the relationship between women’s empowerment and household-level food security and dietary diversity; women’s dietary diversity and BMI; and child-related outcomes, controlling for woman, child, and household characteristics. We also test whether women’s empowerment has differential associations for boys and girls. We do not find consistent associations between dimensions of empowerment and food security and nutrition outcomes across countries, but some patterns emerge. Overall empowerment scores are more strongly associated with nutritional outcomes in the South Asian countries in our sample compared to the African ones. Where significant, greater intrahousehold gender equality is associated with better nutritional outcomes. However, different domains have different associations with nutritional outcomes, suggesting that tradeoffs exist: higher workloads are associated with more diverse diets but lower women’s BMI and child anthropometric outcomes. Identifying the overlap between the top contributors to disempowerment and those most strongly related to nutrition outcomes can inform the design and implementation of nutrition-sensitive agricultural programs.
    Keywords: BANGLADESH; SOUTH ASIA; ASIA; NEPAL; CAMBODIA; SOUTH EAST ASIA; GHANA; WEST AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; MOZAMBIQUE; SOUTHERN AFRICA; TANZANIA; EAST AFRICA; women; gender; agriculture; nutrition; empowerment; women's empowerment; maternal and child health; food security; body mass index; child nutrition
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Rozenn Hotte (THEMA - Théorie économique, modélisation et applications - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CY - CY Cergy Paris Université); Sylvie Lambert (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: Bride price is essential to marriage in West Africa and particularly in Senegal where, ac- cording to our data, transfers to the family of the bride characterize about 85% of marriages. The relationship between the bride price and the well-being of the wife in her household has scarcely been studied in West Africa. Furthermore, the simultaneous existence of other marriage payments, owing in di_erent directions between the stakeholders is also largely ignored. To assess the signi_cance of these marital transfers for women's well-being in Sene- gal, we use a unique survey that enquires separately about the di_erent marriage payments. We highlight the strength of the link between what is given to the bride herself and her welfare, contrary to the looseness of the relation with what is given to the family.
    Keywords: Bride-Price,Marriage,Women,Senegal
    Date: 2020–05–18
  3. By: Juergen Jung (Department of Economics, Towson University); Vinish Shrestha (Department of Economics, Towson University)
    Abstract: We estimate whether a large scale health care reform benefits young boys more than young girls in terms of health and cognitive outcomes in the context of a developing country with labor market bias and cultural preferences favoring sons. We use exogenous variation of a health care reform, the National Health Policy, which was implemented in Nepal in 1991 along with data from the Nepal Living Standard Survey 1996. By using healthcare quality measures of health posts that provide primary healthcare as well as a constructed cost measure for accessing hospitals that provide tertiary (curative) care, we evaluate the effects of the health care reform on infant and child mortality by gender. Our results suggest that improvements in primary health care quality and cost reductions in tertiary care reduces the mortality rates of boys but does not affect the mortality rate of girls. Additionally, the findings provide suggestive evidence that differences in child health investments affect educational outcomes. We highlight the household's innate gender preference for sons, neglect of daughters' health, and differences in borrowing patterns across households with sons and daughters as potential drivers of some of the observed differences in the human capital investments of parents into boys vs. girls. Our research highlights the importance of cultural norms in the overall success of health reforms.
    Keywords: Infant and child mortality, gender specific health investment, health inequality by gender, access to health care in developing nation.
    JEL: C35 I23 I10 I18
    Date: 2020–06
  4. By: Smriti Sharma; Saurabh Singhal; Finn Tarp
    Abstract: While there is substantial corruption in developing countries, the costs imposed by corruption on individuals and households are little understood. This study examines the relationship between exposure to local corruption and mental health, as measured by depressive symptoms. We use two large data sets - one cross-sectional and one panel - collected across rural Vietnam. After controlling for individual and regional characteristics, we find strong and consistent evidence that day-to-day petty corruption is positively associated with psychological distress. Our results are robust to a variety of specification checks. Further, we find that the relationship between corruption and mental health is stronger for women, and that there are no heterogeneous effects by poverty status. Finally, using a difference-in-difference estimation strategy, we provide suggestive evidence that a recent highly proled anti-corruption campaign had significant positive effects on mental health. Overall, our findings suggest that there may be substantial psychosocial and mental health benefits from efforts to reduce corruption and improve rural governance structures.
    Keywords: Corruption, mental health, depression, Vietnam
    JEL: I3 I15 O12 D73 P3
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Mansoor, Kashif (Centre for Development Studies); O'Neill, Donal (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
    Abstract: Minimum wages are increasingly being used in developing countries as a policy to combat exploitation of workers and raise living standards. However, in many developing countries there is a substantial difference between de jure and de facto regulation. We examine the consequences of imperfect compliance by looking at the heterogenous effects of minimum wages across compliance regimes in India from 1999-2011. We find noncompliance rates as high as 90% for some unskilled workers in India. We show that minimum wages have a positive effect on wages, without a corresponding effect on employment. As a result, household consumption increases following increases in the minimum wage; however, compliance matters. The beneficial pass-through of higher minimum wages to wages and consumption is significantly reduced in low compliance regimes. Our findings imply that labour market reforms have the potential to significantly improve workers' living standards in developing countries but only if accompanied by effective enforcement mechanisms.
    Keywords: minimum wage, compliance
    JEL: J38 O15
    Date: 2020–05
  6. By: Olivier BARGAIN; Ulugbek AMINJONOV
    Abstract: In March 2020, shelter-in-place and social-distancing policies have been enforced or recommended all over the world to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. However, strict containment is hardly achievable in low-income countries, as large parts of population are forced to continue income-generating activities to escape extreme poverty or hunger. To assess the trade-off between poverty and a higher risk of catching COVID-19, we use regional mobility to work and poverty rates across 241 regions of 9 countries from Latin America and Africa. With a difference-in-difference approach around the time of lockdown announcements, we mea-sure the differential time variation in work mobility between high and low-poverty regions. We find that the degree of work mobility reduction is significantly driven by the intensity of poverty. Consistently, human movements vary significantly more between poverty levels when it come to work rather than less vital activities. We also estimate how higher poverty rates translate into a faster spread of COVID-19 cases through the channel of work mobility.
    Keywords: COVID-19; poverty; lockdown; compliance; work mobility
    JEL: H12 I12 I18 O15
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Anirban Mitra; Sarmistha Pal
    Abstract: We study the effect of ethnic diversity on local public spending following fiscal decentralisation in a setting where local institutions condition cooperative behaviour across ethnic groups. The theory we develop highlights the role of the local elite in lobbying for policies which favour them in a decentralised setting. The differences in preferences over public good allocations along with the salience of coordination costs across ethnic groups are relevant in determining the equilibrium lobbying behaviour. This results in ethnic diversity having a detrimental effect on local developmental spending which is aggravated by increased levels of coordination costs. We test these predictions using Indonesian community-level data. Utilising the 1997 and 2007 Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS) rounds, we are able to construct various measures of ethnic diversity. Also, we exploit an institutional feature of Indonesian communities - namely, the observance of traditional "Adat" laws to proxy coordination costs across ethnic groups. Overall, we find that ethnic diversity depresses local development spending post-decentralisation at the community level particularly where Adat laws are not followed, which is consistent with our theory.
    Keywords: Decentralisation; Lobbying; Local development; Political Economy
    JEL: D72 D74 H40
    Date: 2020–04
  8. By: Aparna Rao (Department of Economics, SOAS University of London); Risa Morimoto (Department of Economics, SOAS University of London)
    Abstract: In economic theory, the agricultural sector plays an undisputed role in growth, development and poverty reduction in a country. The sector is pivotal for a vast majority of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), given the large number of people dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. With the constraints on land expansion and the dual threat of climate change and an ever increasing population, agricultural productivity has become a key matter of concern in agricultural economics. Given this, a vast majority of literature focuses on improving productivity to meet food demand at any cost. A large percentage of it is focused on the use of pesticides, pre-harvest, to eradicate pests and diseases that lead to losses in the produce. As a result, there has been a significant increase in global pesticide usage over the last few years. Using the context of smallholder vegetable production in Ethiopia, this paper aims to highlight that although there is a requirement to increase yields to be able to meet the growing food demand, the focus has to shift towards looking at agricultural productivity through a sustainable lens. This is to say that increasing the use of pesticides to increase productivity, without considering human and environmental health, quality of produce and farmer income, is not enough to ensure sustainability. Rather, there is a requirement to go beyond the yield-based definition of productivity to incorporate agroecological farming practices.
    Keywords: pesticides; smallholders; Ethiopia; yield productivity; agricultural sustainability
    JEL: Q15 Q18
    Date: 2020–05
  9. By: Basu, Arnab K. (Cornell University); Byambasuren, Tsenguunjav (Cornell University); Chau, Nancy H. (Cornell University); Khanna, Neha (University of Birmingham)
    Abstract: Indoor air pollution (IAP)–predominantly from the use of solid fuel for cooking–is a global health threat, particularly for women and young children, and one of the leading causes of infant deaths worldwide in developing countries. We estimate the causal effect of cooking fuel choice on infant mortality in India, focusing on children under five years of age using pooled cross-sectional data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) over the period 1992–2016. To address the potential endogeneity in the relationship between fuel choice and mortality, we instrument for cooking fuel choice using a speed of change in forest cover and ownership status of agricultural land, which induce significant variations in fuel type. We find that cooking fuel choice has a statistically significant impact on under-five and neonatal mortality, raising the mortality risk by 4.9 percent. We also find that the past literature has overestimated the association between under-five mortality and polluting fuel use by about 0.6 percentage points or equivalently, 152,000 deaths per year nationally. Our result is robust to a set of alternative specifications with the inclusion of various controls and different estimation strategies.
    Keywords: cooking fuel, indoor air pollution, infant mortality, India
    JEL: I18 N35 Q53
    Date: 2020–05

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